Expats in Spain still at risk from fugitive fraudsters

Published:  31 Oct at 6 PM
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In spite of endless warnings from Britain’s Financial Conduct Agency, local forums and the expat media, UK residents in Spain are still losing their savings and pensions to unscrupulous crooks.

This week, one expat newspaper serving the Costa Blanca expat community posted news that Mark Acklom, named on the list of Britain’s most wanted fugitives, is hiding from justice in Murcia. The Olive Press investigation listed his crimes, cons, convictions and jail times along with the five aliases he used to scam an even greater number of unsuspecting expats whilst covering his tracks.

According to Crimestoppers, Acklom is on the run after conning his former girlfriend out of 950,000 euros. Having convinced her he was an M16 agent and asking her to marry him, he disappeared with every penny she had. Acklom’s life of crime began early when, as a child, he stole his mother’s mink coat and sold it.

He‘s known to have spent 10 years in prison both in the UK and in Spain, having arrived in Spain late in the 1990s. His crimes since then began with an unpaid hotel room scam, then expanded to real estate fraud, a 14 million euro property scam and defrauding two brothers out of 225,000 euros.

At the time of a court appearance in Switzerland, he claimed marriage to one Maria Yolanda Ros Rodriguez, pregnant by him at the time. The Olive Press investigation traced her to Murcia, where she had launched a luxury real estate company with another office in Madrid. At present, it’s unclear whether she had any part in her husband’s frauds.

Having been released from prison last March, Acklom promptly disappeared, and hasn’t been heard of since. There is an EU arrest warrant out for him, and a reward of 22,000 euros is being offered for information leading to his capture.

Fraudsters have been ripping off expats in Spain for decades, whether offering property deals, off-plan purchases for condos which are never built or the potentially disastrous mis-selling of dodgy investments by unqualified, commission-hungry IFAs. It goes without saying that expats living anywhere in Spain should simply ignore any attempt to part them with their money, however genuine it might seem at the time.
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